For Immediate Release
September 21, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Falls Prevention Awareness Day

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Kansas Department on Aging (KDOA) joins 33 other states and the Falls Free™ Coalition in declaring a statewide Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, September 23. The Falls Free™ Coalition is also petitioning Congress to once again proclaim September 23 as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.

“In 2007, there were 8,217 hospital discharges due to older adults falling in Kansas,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary. “We need to raise awareness of preventive measures that can help keep seniors safe in Kansas.”

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans 65 and older.  More than 18,000 older Americans die every year because of a fall and the rate has risen dramatically over the last 10 years.  

“When older adults fall, it often leads to a loss of independence, reduced mobility and earlier admission to a nursing home,” said Martin Kennedy, Kansas Department on Aging Secretary. “But the good news is that falls can be prevented.”

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training and flexibility components.  Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically, getting eyes checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive is also recommended.

At senior centers across the United States, programs like A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi, and Stepping On help older adults gain the strength, improved balance and confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence.

Kansas is part of the Falls Free™ Coalition, which includes 34 states and 70 national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injury and death among older adults.

To download video B-Roll, please go to http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10357607/ver1_dv.mov and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10357607/ver2_dv.mov